The OpenELEC operating system used to be based on XBMC, but that is changing right now. The old XBMC is being renamed to Kodi and a new major version is in the works. For now, Kodi is still under development, but it's making great progress and it should arrive pretty soon in its final form.
This also means that OpenELEC is looking to integrate the latest Kodi version, just as it did with XBMC, and is following closely all the improvements that are made to the media hub. On the other hand, the developers of this distro have to worry about various other packages as well, not just about XBMC. There is the Linux kernel to be considered, the drivers, and all the other critical components.
The Linux distros have all kinds of system notification mechanisms. Some are better than others, but for the most part they function the way they should. On the other hand, some developers, like the ones from the elementary OS team, go a little bit further and they are able to provide a much better experience for the end users.
Version 7 of the Trisquel GNU/Linux distribution, codenamed Belenos after a Celtic sun god, has been released. Belenos is a Long Term Support release that will be maintained until 2019. Relevant new packages and features include:
Kernel Linux-libre 3.13 with lowlatency and bfq scheduling by default.
Custom desktop based on GNOME 3.12 fallback.
Abrowser 33 (a free Firefox derivative) as default browser.
GNU IceCat 31 available as single-click optional install from Abrowser's homepage. Complete with many extra privacy features.
Electrum Bitcoin Wallet preinstalled.
Moved to DVD format, now with 50+ languages and extra applications.
Improved accessibility by default.
The Arch-based Manjaro crew has been developing Calamares, an open-source installation framework they hope will basically lead to being a universal Linux distribution installer.
The Manjaro camp has been developing Calamares as a distribution installer framework they'll be using for Manjaro 0.9+ and they also hope other Linux distributions will adopt it so it can become somewhat of a universal Linux installer so each distribution camp no longer keeps needing to write their own installer.
ZevenOS-Neptune 4.x branch is called "It's all about you" and it was initially made available back in June. This is the second update for the distribution and the devs have refined some of the features and have added some new packages into the mix.
The system is based on KDE, but don't expect to find a regular stock version implemented. It's clear that the devs have put a lot of effort into making the DE experiences unique. Users can immediately recognize what distribution they are looking at just with a glance, and that's always a good sign.
The Parsix operating system uses only the GNOME and Debian packages from the stable branches. The developers aim to provide a complete and bug free Linux distribution, at least as much as humanly possible. The fact that the OS is based on Debian "Wheezy" helps a lot, especially because it's now a Long Term release and it comes with all the latest security updates.
The developers seem to be follow a specific schedule and this latest version comes just a month after the previous Test. It's not clear just how many of these Testing releases will have, but it does look like the system is getting more stable.
Mozilla seems to be staying very focused on the low end of the smartphone market with its Firefox OS platform, despite the high-end evolution of iOS and Android. Recently, Firefox OS phones have been arriving in India, priced well under $50, and promising to put phones in the hands of users who have never had them before.